THE worry over having to raise funds to relocate the school has been greatly eased for SJK (T) Gunung Rapat with a RM2.5mil allocation from the Government.
The 57-year-old school, whose pupils are forced to put up with cramped conditions presently, was given the good news by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin during his day-long visit to Perak on Thursday.
Noting that the amount sought by the school to put up a new building on a 1.2ha piece of land near its present location in Gunung Rapat would be approved, Muhyiddin said the Government had allocated about RM100mil to help all Tamil schools in the country under the 2012 Budget.
“RM2.5mil is just a small portion. We still have a lot to share with other schools,” he said to the rapturous applause of the crowd during the state-level Deepavali celebration in Little India, Ipoh.
“What is most important is that our children can get an education,” he added.
Built in 1954, the current school sits on a 0.1ha piece of land in Jalan Besar in Gunung Rapat.
It does not have a field or computer lab while pupils and teachers are forced to put up with cramped conditions with only eight classrooms, a resource centre and a staff room due to insufficient land for expansion.
Muhyiddin also had the crowd in stitches when he said he was already pokai (Cantonese for bankrupt) due to the numerous requests for allocations during his visit.
“I am giving out RM1mil almost every hour.
“I do not want to stay any longer in Perak as it is an expensive visit for me,” he joked.
“But it is not a problem because the money is for the people,” he said on a more serious note.
Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, said the Government had spent RM330mil to help various Tamil schools in the country in the last two years.
He added that allocations were also handed out to Chinese and national schools.
Earlier in a dialogue with about 200 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from Perak, Muhyiddin welcomed a suggestion to award bonuses to NGOs, that were well managed.
“I will bring this up with Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil,” he said in reply to the suggestion forwarded by Perak Association for the Intellectually Disabled president Datuk Dr Yeoh Beng San.
Perak Taska Association (PTP) executive committee member Aziah Mohd Shah Baki also voiced out that there should be more financial assistance for NGOs.
“Currently, the highest we can pay our workers is RM600 whereas the Government wants us to at least hire diploma-holders,” she said.
Consequently, Aziah said kindergarten and day care centres had attempted to increase their fees in order to cover costs.
“But that will only discourage parents and they may stop sending their children,” she said, noting that parents also preferred to send their children to government-run centres as they were more affordable.